The helm is right here

Early Tuesday morning I was having some fun searching for the most hilariously, over-the-top comments Bush partisans were making in the media to discredit Richard Clarke.

Obviously, one of my first stops was Fox News, and I wasn’t disappointed. There, I found an article titled “White House Rebuts Former Adviser’s 9/11 Claims” in which Alexander “As of now, I am in control here” Haig portrayed Clarke as “trying to suck around for another job.” So, like any respectable Sadly, No! reader (and guest blogger), I filed away the link for future reference.

Imagine my dismay later in the day when, upon deciding that presidential-primary-loser Haig’s quote was indeed the most hilarious and over-the-top claim I had read, I discovered that Fox News had actually edited the story and replaced Haig with someone else saying something less droll (but, of course, almost as equally outrageous).

All I can say is thank goodness for the folks over at Joefish’s Freshwater Blog! After some fruitless hours spent Googling, up popped the original Fox News story and quote in one of Joefish’s posts:

“He probably thinks that the Democrats have a chance this time and so he’s trying to suck around for another job,” Alexander Haig, former secretary of state under President Reagan, told Fox News on Monday.

“This is an outrage to claim President Bush is responsible for nine years of total incompetence in confronting international terrorism that he [Clarke] was a part of,” especially when “the Clinton administration did nothing but warn, warn, warn and throw a few rockets” at terrorists.

Bush, however, “has a firm grasp on the global threat that is confronting the United States, the free world and nations that believe in the rule of law,” Haig continued.

While I laughed uproariously at the irony of Alexander Haig – a man whose most recent, brief role in a presidential administration lasted one and one-half years almost a quarter of a century ago, and for which he will likely be solely remembered for his shocking lack of knowledge of the U.S. Constitution – accusing Richard Clarke of toadying for a White House job, Joefish’s Freshwater Blog provided this more helpful, incisive analysis:

As usual, Alexander Haig is brutally honest and has a firm grasp on the situation.

Speaking of missing, snarky Clarke quotes, where in the White House transcript is Scott McClellan’s “”Dick Clarke’s American Grandstand” remark from Monday’s press briefing? According to CBS News, it happened right about here:

“It’s important to keep in context we’re in the heat of a presidential campaign and all of a sudden he comes out with a book that he is seeking to promote … and he is making charges that simply did not happen,” McClellan said.

“This is Dick Clarke’s American grandstand. He just keeps changing the tune,” McClellan added.

Now, I may be mistaken, but I am almost 100% certain that I originally read that comment in the White House transcript the following day because CNN International (I share the same time zone with our currently bedridden Sadly, No! management) had cut away from live coverage of the briefing the day before and I was trying to catch up on what I had missed.

So what happened to McClellan’s cute little sound bite?


Comments: 12


Wait, nine years of inaction? Last time I check Clinton only had 8 years to do anything.

And what’s with the warn, warn, warn comment? Maybe Al, the Repubs didn’t listen to the President and that’s why he didn’t do more. Dickhead.


“Suck around”? Is that from a Captain and Tennille song — “My mama told me, you better suck around”?


lol, I thought you were kidding. Warn, warn, warn, and toss a couple of missiles…!


Al “I’m in control here” Haig sez: He probably thinks that the Democrats have a chance this time and so he’s trying to suck around for another job

Surely, Al would know. He “sucked around” unsuccessfully for the presidential nomination in 1980, and gracefully withdrawing, netted the SoS spot in the Reagan administration.

Incidentally, for many of us “over 45s,” he’s chiefly remembered for his starring role in the Watergate coverup as Nixon’s Chief of Staff.

And while I’m on the subject of gripes of the over 45s, Margot [laughing], please don’t call Somkey Robinson’s “Shop Around” a Cap&Ten song–

Good line, though.


Don’t blame Margot. I’m “only” 43 and I was the one who called it a Captain and Tennille song.

George Claredon

Very stupid remark, especially since Clarke disavowed any intention in serving in a Kerry(or Democratic) Administration.

Proof once again that Rove is doing blow from his office desk these days.


Oops, sorry, Margot, and Frederic, don’t take this as disparagement of Darryl or Toni, who I actually sorta liked.

Apologies to “Somkey” aka Smokey Robinson as well; good grief…


I’ve read that there are actually two daily white house press briefings, one funny and one that isn’t.
Um, one with lies and one with only the truth?
No, I don’t know the difference, but this “what happened?” comes up enough on blogs to make me believe that there are two similar press briefings each day, but I don’t recall the details.


I’ve read that there are actually two daily white house press briefings, one funny and one that isn’t.

Well, one informal, and one not. Probably amounts to the same thing, ultimately.


Well, one informal, and one not. Probably amounts to the same thing, ultimately.

Indeed. As I understand it, normally there is the “gaggle” in the morning which is more informal and not on camera. The press briefing is in the afternoon, is less freewheeling, there are cameras, and there is a transcript (there is, sometimes, a transcript of the gaggle as well).

My original recollection that the remark had been made at the afternoon press briefing was later confirmed by a report I read at the CTV site:

“This is Dick Clarke’s ‘American Grandstand.’ He just keeps changing the tune,” White House Spokesman Scott McClellan told a news conference Monday afternoon. “His assertions that that there is something we could have done to prevent attacks of September 11th from happening is deeply irresponsible, it’s offensive and it’s flat out false.”

But this piece from MSNBC seems to point to the morning gaggle:

?When you compare Dick Clarke ?s current rhetoric with his past comments and actions, the bedrock of his assertions comes crumbling down,? McClellan said in the first of two briefings he held for reporters. ?This is Dick Clarke ?s ? American Grandstand .? He just keeps changing the tune.?

I guess it wouldn’t be the first time the Canadians got it wrong! 😉

In any event, as Chris Vosburg points out above, it does amount to the same thing: McClellan said it to the press and it was snarky and dumb.


Citizen, report to your block warden immediately. You have committed the ThoughtCrime of noticing that the Ministry of Truth has revised the past to reflect TODAY’S truth!

John Asscroft, Ministry of Love, Untied States of America


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